Small Engine Repair (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner05/09/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 98 mins

Superbly written, slow-burning little drama that gradually gets under your skin thanks to a strong, heartfelt performance by Iain Glen and a nicely integrated country music score.

What's it all about?
Set in a rural Northern Irish community, Small Engine Repair stars Iain Glen as Doug, a middle aged, out of work logger who's been thrown out by his wife, forcing him to move in with his best friend, Bill (Steven Mackintosh). Doug harbours an ambition to become a singer-songwriter, but crippling self doubt has always prevented him from even allowing anyone to listen to his demo tape, let alone actually perform.

Meanwhile, none-too-bright Bill has his own problems, as his grown-up son (Laurence Kinlan) no longer wants to work in their family-owned mechanics shop. However, things come to a head for both men when an old acquaintance (Stuart Graham) gets out of jail and announces he's looking for the person who grassed him up to the cops.

The Good
Glen is almost unrecognisable as Doug, hidden behind a greying beard and a permanently world-weary expression. However, he also brings a slow-burning intensity to the role – Doug is a man who has lost almost everything and yet something in him compels him to keep plugging away.

Mackintosh is equally good, delivering a more complex performance as the decidedly less sympathetic Bill, a cowardly man who constantly makes bad decisions and then tries to avoid the consequences. There's also strong support from Graham (subtly menacing as Burley) and from Gary Lydon, as Doug's supportive bar-owning friend, Eddy.

The Great
Writer-director Niall Heery maintains an intriguing atmosphere, because all the ingredients are in place for a violent and tragic showdown, yet you're never quite sure which way the film is going to go. In addition, the superbly integrated country score works brilliantly, adding a strongly emotional layer to the story.

Worth seeing?
In short, this is a well made, quietly impressive little film that deserves to find an audience. Worth seeing.

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Content updated: 21/09/2018 00:11

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